Thursday, October 6, 2022

Puerto Rico Relief Efforts Pale to that for Just One Wall Street Bank

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by Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Wall St On Parade:

With 3.4 million fellow American citizens undergoing an epic humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, as critically-needed food and water remain undistributed for lack of manpower and proper logistical coordination by the Trump administration, there is no better time than the present to assess how corporate welfare trumps the rights of individual citizens of the United States.

President Trump, the man who ran on a so-called populist agenda, has Tweeted the following regarding the situation in Puerto Rico (italic emphasis added below):

September 25: It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well.

September 29: The fact is that Puerto Rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes. Big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!

September 30: Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

When Donald Trump made these Tweets, the situation was as follows in Puerto Rico as the result of Hurricane Maria making a direct hit on the island: most of these U.S. citizens have no electric power, no air conditioning in sweltering heat, no working refrigerators or running water because of the lack of electricity, with tens of thousands of homes missing their roofs and/or walls.

Instead of focusing on the simple reality that citizens in the midst of an epic humanitarian disaster of this magnitude must be forgiven for wanting assistance, Trump portrayed Puerto Ricans as welfare slackers, wanting “everything to be done for them.” This Tweet was reminiscent of another super rich, out-of-touch Republican who wanted to run the country on behalf of people like himself. In 2012, Mitt Romney was captured on tape during a campaign fundraising event making the following remarks:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

But when the President invoked the “billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with” in the earliest days of this humanitarian disaster, he topped even Romney for his callous disregard for American citizens who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

The U.S. government’s treatment of debt-riddled Puerto Rico today and the serially-charged, debt-riddled Wall Street banks before, during and after the 2008 financial crash of their own making, says all we need to know about the fragility of democracy in the U.S. today.

In 2007, long before most Americans realized how financially distressed Wall Street had become, the Federal Reserve (the central bank of the U.S.) secretly began funneling money under the table to some of the biggest financial firms in the world at almost zero percent interest. After the media filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to find out the extent of this handout to Wall Street and Senator Bernie Sanders added an amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, the bipartisan watchdog for Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), finally revealed in 2011 that the Fed has sluiced $16 trillion in secret cumulative loans to Wall Street banks and their foreign counterparties between 2007 and 2010.

Just four banks, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America received $7.8 trillion, almost half of the total $16 trillion. (See chart below from the GAO report.) Senator Bernie Sanders poignantly said about the bailout: “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

The serially-charged, now felony-bank Citigroup, received a bailout that makes the financial needs of Puerto Rico to rebuild seem like chicken feed. The U.S. Treasury infused $45 billion in capital into Citigroup to prevent its total collapse; the government guaranteed over $300 billion of Citigroup’s assets; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guaranteed $5.75 billion of its senior unsecured debt and $26 billion of its commercial paper and interbank deposits; and the Fed secretly sluiced $2.5 trillion in almost zero-interest, cumulative loans to Citigroup. All of this largess was given despite Citigroup’s scurrilous history of ripping off American citizens.

Trump’s lack of compassion for fellow Americans struggling to survive in a corporate-owned “democracy” reminded us of what Neil Barofsky had revealed in his book Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall StreetBarofsky was the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program during the financial crisis.

Barofsky revealed in his book that the former New York Fed President, Tim Geithner, whom President Obama elevated to be his Treasury Secretary, had confided that the hidden purpose of a Federal program ostensibly to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure was actually a spurious maneuver to help Wall Street banks. Barofsky wrote:

“For a good chunk of our allotted meeting time, Elizabeth Warren grilled Geithner about HAMP, barraging him with questions about how the program was going to start helping home owners.  In defense of the program, Geithner finally blurted out, ‘We estimate that they can handle ten million foreclosures, over time,’ referring to the banks. ‘This program will help foam the runway for them.’

“A lightbulb went on for me.  Elizabeth had been challenging Geithner on how the program was going to help home owners, and he had responded by citing how it would help the banks. Geithner apparently looked at HAMP as an aid to the banks, keeping the full flush of foreclosures from hitting the financial system all at the same time. Though they could handle up to ‘10 million foreclosures’ over time, any more than that, or if the foreclosures were too concentrated, and the losses that the banks might suffer on their first and second mortgages could push them into insolvency, requiring yet another round of TARP bailouts.  So HAMP would ‘foam the runway’ by stretching out the foreclosures, giving the banks more time to absorb losses while the other parts of the bailouts juiced bank profits that could then fill the capital holes created by housing losses.”

Read More @ WallStOnParade.com

5 Critical Facts You Need to Know About Stephen Paddock

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by Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project:

Las Vegas, NV – The gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting, who opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival — which is now being called the deadliest mass shooting in US history — has been identified as Stephen Paddock.

The shooting rampage left at least 58 dead and 515 injured, according to the latest report from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

The shooter, Stephen Paddock, is a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, who opened fire on concert-goers located in a fairgrounds area on Las Vegas Boulevard from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

SWAT officers responded to the hotel room and used an explosive breach to enter the room and engage the suspect, but believe that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound prior to officers gaining access to the room.

In spite of the myriad of conspiracy theories and fake photos and motives posted online, Police do not yet have a motive and Paddock’s motivation is unknown.

Although ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, without evidence, police claim that Paddock has no known ties to any terrorist organization, according to NBC.

Here is what we know about the shooter thus far.

1. Police Do Not Believe This Was an Act of Terror ‘At this point’ & Called Paddock a ‘Local Individual’

Police said the shooter was a “local individual” who was firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel just outside the concert area. Authorities report that Paddock died inside the hotel room after a police SWAT team used an explosive breach to blow open the door and then attempted engaged with him. Police believe that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound prior to officers gaining access to the room.

Although ISIS has attempted to take responsibility for the attack, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, when asked by a reporter if the shooting was an “act of terrorism,” said “no, not at this point. We believe it was a local individual. He resides here locally. I’m not at liberty to give you his place of residence yet, because it’s an ongoing investigation, we don’t know what his belief system was at this time. … Right now we believe he is the sole aggressor at this point and the scene is static.”

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

SYRIANGIRL’s Facebook Ban Linked to Russia-gate Twitter Purge? – an Exclusive Interview

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from Sputnik News:

“I’m quite devastated. I put 5 years into that platform.”

She thinks her account got caught up in the recent Twitter / Facebook purge of Russian-linked accounts.

On Thursday evening, we reported this:  Facebook Blocks SYRIANGIRL’s Account After Criticism of Kurds

SYRIANGIRL, the Australian activist Youtuber and social media powerhouse tweeted on Thursday evening (EST) that her Facebook account has been blocked for her exposure of fraud during the Kurdistan referendum. She had 75,000 followers.

She also has 70,000 followers on Twitter, and 75,000 subscribers to her excellent Youtube channel.

She gave RI an exclusive interview on Friday, explaining that Facebook acted without warning, (which is unusual – usually they give people a chance to correct whatever is upsetting the censors), and so far have not responded to emails.

She speculated that perhaps her page had been caught up in the anti-Russian Twitter / Facebook purge currently unfolding. (Twitter removed 200 Russian accounts that targeted Facebook during election – USA Today)

 

Deep-staters are claiming that Russian troll farms were using Twitter to promote things on Facebook. Possibly they were also pushing her Facebook page, and it is possible that her page was caught up in the purge for this reason.

She pointed out that if Russian trolls were pushing her stories to American viewers, they were in fact doing America a favor, because her work corrects media lies about Syria pushed in the American media by intelligence agency trolls.

She also explained that she is censored in other ways – for example, Youtube stripped her of the ability to monetize her videos 4 years ago – without explanation. Take a look at the videos on her channel – hardly something that warrants censorship in a free society.

She is clearly upset:

I’m quiet devastated. I put 5 years into that platform. Hopefully it will come back.

I should have made my own website. I planned to – even bought a  domain name but I was a one person army. I didn’t have the resources in time, money or know-how.

In an effort to fight back against the censorship, she has started a Patreon account. If you want to take a stand against creeping US censorship, a great way to do it would be to join her supporters there.

On Friday night she put up a video punching back at Facebook, where she talks about the ban, and explains what she had been saying about the Kurds in Syria that must have so offended the censors:

Read More @ SputnikNews.com

Bitcoin is Not New and Improved Money

by Michael Pento, Market Oracle:

Cryptocurrencies are being billed as a new and improved form of money that has been offered to us courtesy of technological evolution. There is a big problem with this conclusion. That is, digital money is not money at all. And proving this truth serves to underscore why gold has been utilized as the best form of money for thousands of years.

In the 2013 film titled “Her,” lonely Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, falls in love with Samantha, an operating system. Despite Samantha’s lack of physical presence, the two have a somewhat normal relationship that includes vacations, socializing with friends, fights and even jealousy. But just as the audience starts buying into this unconventional pairing the plug is pulled on Samantha, and she disappears into a cyberspace vortex; leaving poor and lonely Theodore heartbroken.

And, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, this is where we are as a society.  In a place where the digital and real world collide. Social Media has supplanted socializing, texts have replaced phone calls, and artificial intelligence may soon outstrip actual intelligence: robots may soon rule the world! 

In this fast-changing environment, it’s easy to believe that cyber currencies should inevitably replace fiat money; and even that “barbarous relic” gold. After all, the motivation to find as many escapes from debt-based central bank confetti is indeed alluring.

And herein lies the attraction of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin – it uses the revolutionary blockchain technology that is managed by the free market, not by government. It is decentralized, anonymous, and has been hugely profitable. In fact, this year we have seen digital currency prices go higher not by percentages but by multiples. This has caused Bitcoin to achieve the “most crowded trade” status, measured by sentiment in the monthly global Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Managers survey; as its price has surged by 330 percent this year alone.

But, JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon isn’t beguiled. He believes the online currency is just as fleeting as the Theodore’s Samantha and will soon leave investors equally as heartbroken. He contends that bitcoin “is a fraud.” “It’s just not a real thing, and eventually it will be closed.”  But it’s not just Jamie Dimon, who has a vested interest in protecting the banking system and the fiat currency that inhabits it, that is questioning Cryptos. Founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Ray Dalio believes Bitcoin is a bubble. Dalio contends that unlike gold, “it’s not an effective store-hold of wealth.”

And Oaktree Capital Management’s Howard Marx agrees stating “…they are not real – nobody has been able to make sense to me of these currencies.”  Marx explains that one of the biggest pitfalls of bitcoin and its fellow cryptos is they are mostly used to buy other “imaginary” money or used it to invest in companies that create other new currencies.

And now some government regulators appear to agree with these sentiments, making the speculation of Bitcoin’s demise closer to reality.

In fact, the Chinese government has just become the first to put the kibosh on crypto’s – and this should sound warning bells to all those enamored with cyber “money.”   On September 4th, China’s central bank banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) maintaining it was an illegal public finance mechanism.  ICOs are a hybrid between an initial public offering, crowd-funding and venture capital that permits start-ups to raise funds using virtual money. Regulating what a crypto-currency could be used for was the first crack in the armor for Bitcoin in China.
 
China has long been a repository for bitcoin, which came in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis as an alternative to fiat currencies. Much of the world’s bitcoin is mined in China. And, according to the WSJ, more than 80{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of global bitcoin activity took place in yuan at the start of this year.

But recently, China’s central bank has devised new rules to end commercial trading in virtual currencies under the guise of trying to reign in the chaotic marketplace. And this is sure to offer a template for other nations’ regulators.
  
Beijing’s clampdown on bitcoin is part of a larger effort to root out risks to the country’s financial system. This is prompting virtual-currency activity in China to move off exchanges, where individuals can trade with each other privately. However, it’s difficult to imagine that when relegated to the shadows these virtual currencies will enjoy the same popularity.

Indeed, this is where cryptocurrencies fail the definition of real money: They are not at all rare or indestructible. Once a government decides to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges, the liquidity evaporates rather quickly. And once Bitcoin transactions become illicit, what retailer would risk fines or imprisonment just to transact in digital money? Since an online retailer needs to use a public application to accept cryptocurrencies, then it cannot simultaneously be kept secret from the prying eyes of government—unless you believe retails will move en masse to the dark web. This is different than gold, which can be exchanged for goods and services furtively offline—making it much more difficult for a government to trace and regulate. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized in nature but do rely on a functioning internet to consummate a transaction. Be it an act of nature or war. However the grid goes down, so goes your Bitcoin.

More importantly, new digital currencies are being created by the day. In fact, there are nearly one thousand already floating around. What is the true value of something that can be created by virtual fiat and in innumerable quantities? It takes about $1,300 worth of physical and human capital to pull an ounce of gold from the ground. While it may take a lot of time and energy to mine for new bitcoins, it takes next to nothing to create a totally new cryptocurrency.

Many analysts have attributed the sharp rise in bitcoin over the last year to Chinese investors, who began buying it up in lieu of the yuan amid worries that the Chinese currency would weaken and to escape capital controls. Since the government’s recent clampdown, the country’s share in Bitcoin has dropped dramatically along with its price (over 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the past month). The bottom line is that the central planners in China aren’t going to let a bunch bits and bytes supplant their command and control of the economy.

Read More @ MarketOracle.com

THIS TECH BREAKTHROUGH WILL SAVE THE ELECTRIC CAR MARKET

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by Ian Jenkins, via The Daily Sheeple:

A new technology is here that has the potential to reshape lithium production like fracking reshaped oil.

The global battery market is set to hit $120 billion in less than two years, and there’s a massive investor opportunity here in lithium—but this isn’t a mining play, it’s a tech play all the way.

As lithium continues to enjoy status as the hottest metal on the market, and as producers race to the finish line to bring new supply online, one little-known company just might hold technology that will give it a big edge.

In the swarm of new entrants on the lithium playing field, International Battery Metals (CSE:IBATOTC: RHHNF) stands out—front and center—because it’s sitting on a proprietary advanced technology that could push lithium into the production stage rapidly. It has signed an LOI with North American Lithium (NAL) to acquire all its lithium extraction process intellectual property and be restructured with NAL becoming an integral part of the company.

Where traditional solar evaporation technology takes up to 24 months to extract lithium from the brine, IBAT incoming CEO Burba says he can do it in 24 hours. That would put IBAT on the front line of new lithium coming online to meet the battery demand. And that demand is supplying our energy transition for everything from mainstreamed electric vehicles (EVs) to massive energy storage solutions and consumer electronics market that grows leaps and bounds.

The lithium game isn’t about exploration, it’s about innovation—and IBAT’s proprietary technology to be acquired from NAL was invented by the same game-changing inventor that came up with a similar tech for FMC Corp. (NYSE:FMC), one of the world’s four top lithium producers.

Lithium is currently produced through a grueling 24-month solar evaporation process that entails slowly extracting all other elements from the brine until only lithium remains.

IBAT’s technology is designed to remove evaporation ponds from the equation. As inventor-CEO John Burba puts it: “Our tech has such a high specificity for lithium that it can directly take the lithium out.”

With its eye on the lithium prize, IBAT is going for fast production and commercial scalability, at a time when lithium prices per metric ton are fantastic:

Disruptive technology changes everything, and if the deal with NAL completes and IBAT’s tech breaks through successfully, it could potentially do for lithium what fracking did to unlock shale for the U.S. oil and gas industry.

Here are 5 reasons to keep a close eye on International Battery Metals (CSE:IBATOTC: RHHNF)

#1 Big Lithium Doesn’t Hibernate in Evaporating Ponds

The technology IBAT has an LOI to acquire, and on acquisition is considering for licensing to third party lithium producers could be a significant key to unlocking $84 billion in lithium brine resources—by making it faster and cheaper to produce.

Production capacity is now at a critical juncture. It takes a minimum of 4 years for an average Lithium brine mine to come online–and another 3-4 years to reach full capacity.

The ambitious targets for EV deployment and energy storage applications require massive Lithium mining capacity to be built much sooner than current technologies allow.

That’s the chief reason why companies are aggressively pursuing new resources such as oil field brines, jadarite and hectorite clay. Lithium brine deposits are estimated to contain 66 percent of the world’s 14 million metric tonnes (MT) of Lithium. That’s Lithium worth $84 billion at current prices.

Unfortunately, recovery of Lithium from brine deposits is a painfully slow process. Traditional solar evaporation technology is an extremely time-intensive process, with a lengthy production cycle that can exceed 18 months.

Oilfield brines solve some of these problems due to their high Lithium concentrations. But, there’s a kicker here as well– oil field brines contain very high concentrations of dissolved ions (>100,000 mg/L), making commercial recovery of Lithium exceedingly expensive.

The technology IBAT is acquiring from NAL is based on a process that has been extracting lithium continuously in Argentina for almost 20 years.

Instead of going the traditional route of trying to isolate Lithium by removing all of those complex ions, the IBAT tech removes the Lithium directly.

According to IBAT CEO John Burba, the mastermind of this technology, the process takes the lithium out on a continuous basis. As the brine goes by, it collects lithium and lets the other impurities continue on and go straight back into the ground. The end-product is a diluted stream of lithium chloride and water that comes out as the brine goes by. That original solution has few impurities which are easily removed through an evaporation process.

The whole extraction process takes–24 hours, period—so it would mean the end of 18-24-month residencies.

Read More @ TheDailySheeple.com

It’s Time to Question the Modern Nation-State Model of Governance

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by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

I typically try to avoid news on Sundays, but I spent much of yesterday in complete awe of the extraordinary strength and fortitude of the Catalan people in the face of totalitarian violence from the Spanish state against citizens attempting to vote in a peaceful referendum. Before you start telling me about how the vote is illegal and goes against the Spanish constitution, let me be perfectly clear. That line of thinking is entirely irrelevant to the point of this post.

Specifically, I believe humanity is reaching a point in its evolution, both from a consciousness perspective as well as a technological one, where we’ll begin to increasingly question many of our silly contemporary assumptions about how governance should work.  The primary one is this absurd notion that a nation-state should be seen as a permanent structure of political governance which only becomes dissolvable in the event of violent revolution or war.

When it comes to great leaps in human progress, a crucial component to lasting change is convincing enough people that a particular way of organizing human affairs is outdated and harmful. I think if we take a step back and look at how people are governed across the world, there are very few places where “the people” feel they live in societies in which they exert any sort of genuine political self-determination. When we look at the last few decades of political governance in the Western world, a march toward more and more centralized political power has been a facet of life in both the U.S and Europe. I believe this trend is being pushed to its breaking point, and groups of humans with common culture, language and interests will increasingly question whether massive nation-states (or wannabe super states like the EU) make sense. In the past five years alone, Scotland held a referendum on UK membership, Great Britain voted to leave the EU, and most recently, Catalonia took a major step toward independence with yesterday’s banned referendum.

Those who favor centralized power see these events and movements toward decentralized political power as inconvenient, intransigent outbursts from the ungrateful, unwashed masses. Movements which would best put down one way or the other in order to carry on with the business of further centralizing power. They view such burgeoning drives for political self-determination as temporary storms which the wise elders of centralization must merely ride out. Unfortunately for them, this is not the case.

If anything, we can expect many more movements for decentralized power in the decades ahead for two main reasons. First, the current system is simply not working for most people. Second, as we become more connected and conscious, we will invariably conclude that all human beings deserve to have a real choice in the type of governments they live under. The prevailing assumption that we’re simply born into a particular nation-state and must accept this situation for the rest of our days irrespective of how brutal, oppressive and dysfunctional it may be, is an irrational, inhumane and outdated perspective.

As things stand today, humans essentially have two choices when it comes to political life. We either accept the nation-state we’re born into and play the game to the best of our advantage, or we try to become citizens of another country with values that more align with our own. The only way to really shatter existing political power structures and form new ones is through violent revolution or war, which is an insane way of reorganizing matters of human governance. One of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s key arguments in casting the Catalan referendum as illegal is that Spain is an indivisible nation under the 1978 constitution. Let’s think about what this means in practice.

Anyone who’s spent any time in Spain understands how culturally and linguistically distinct many of the regions are when compared to Madrid. These are differences that go back centuries and can’t be brushed off by a constitution created a few decades ago. The idea that these various regions must be part of a centralized Spain even if the people within the regions want political autonomy is ethically preposterous, as well as authoritarian and evil in every sense of the word. If done properly, human governance should always be a voluntary arrangement. If an overwhelming majority of culturally distinct people within any nation-state decide the super state is no longer working for them, they should have every right to leave. Anything else is bondage.

As the U.S. Declaration of Independence so eloquently states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

The key aspect of the above declaration is that governments instituted among humans derive their powers from the consent of the governed. If we take the U.S. as an example, how do we know that the people of Texas and California believe centralized power in Washington D.C. as it stands today is an appropriate form of governance unless there’s a periodic vote confirming it? Did any of the 50 states ever actually consent to an out of control centralized deep state-run oligarchy running things as they please? Likewise, how do we know that the people of Catalonia consent to being part of Spain unless you ask them? The truth is you don’t, and this presents a major dilemma we must confront going forward.

If we look at the world’s nation-states, they generally consist of large, centralized political entities comprised of a union of culturally distinct provinces, states or regions. In some cases these regions voluntarily came together over time, while in other cases they were forced together during a war or revolution. It’s crucial that we not view such nation-states as Rajoy views them, as eternal structures that can never be altered, but rather as voluntary political associations. Again, the only way to know such associations are truly voluntary is to periodically subject them to referendums. It seems to me that this should be an integral part of any nation-state. In contrast, we have a name for power relationships that aren’t voluntary. Slavery.

Indeed, the fact that we put up with this at all is downright perplexing. For example, although we accept children should be under the care of parents from birth up to a certain point, at a certain age we pretty much all agree that an adult should be free to make autonomous decisions. While a human becomes free at this micro level upon reaching a certain age, at the macro level most human beings never get to choose what sort of government they live under. Most of us are not at all governed by consent, and this feels very wrong to me.

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

July 20, 1977: CIA Mind Control Project MKUltra Docs Released for First Time

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from Lew Rockwell:

“Project MKUltra” was the name given to an illegal program of human experimentation conducted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, which investigated mind control. The 1975 Church Committee hearings exposed the operation – and on July 20, 1977 a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to it.

The origins of MKUltra lie in 1945, and Operation Paperclip — the secret transfer of top Nazi scientists to the US. Armed with extensive documentation on unethical Nazi human experimentation, including research into mind control, a clutch of military programs related to mental manipulation and behavioral modification were launched — including Projects CHATTER, BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE.

Headed by former chemist Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, MKUltra began in April 1953 on the orders of then-CIA Director Allen Welsh Dulles.

Officially — albeit behind closed doors — the CIA claimed the program was pursued in response to perceived instances of mind control techniques employed by Chinese, North Korean and Soviet forces on Allied prisoners of war in the Korean War.

In truth, the agency wished to produce an optimal truth drug for use in interrogations, and explore possible uses for mind controlled subjects — including the control of foreign leaders, and assassination.

For the next 20 years, the CIA — in conjunction with the Special Operations Division of the US Army Chemical Corps — engaged in a panoply of illegal activities.

Most controversially, unwitting test subjects were subject to a number of techniques to manipulate their mental state and brain functions, including the administration of drugs such as LSD, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as a variety of torture techniques.

A 1955 document describing the substances used in the experiments gives some indication of the sheer scope of the project. This includes drugs that will; “promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public”; cause victims to age faster; recreate the effects of alcohol; emulate the symptoms of recognized diseases; induce temporary/permanent brain damage and loss of memory; produce amnesia of particular events; provoke shock and confusion over extended periods of time; create physical disablement (such as paralysis); alter personality structure; cause mental confusion; promote weakness or distortion of eyesight and hearing.

However, LSD came to dominate the program. Typically administered without informed consent to mental patients — a violation of the Nuremberg Code — prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes (“people who could not fight back” one CIA officer said) in order to study their reactions.

LSD was also administered to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors and other government agents.

In one case, the hallucinogenic drug was administered to a mental patient in Kentucky for 174 straight days.

In another, the CIA set up several brothels in San Francisco, California, dosed customers, and watched and filmed proceedings via one-way mirrors. Brothels were chosen as a surefire means of ensuring victims would not discuss their experience with others.

Most commonly however, test subjects were interrogated under bright lights while doctors took notes. It has been said being spiked with LSD became an “occupational hazard” for CIA agents during this time.

Several deaths reportedly resulted from these actions — most infamously, army scientist Dr. Frank Olson went into deep depression after being unwittingly dosed, later falling to his death from the thirteenth story window of New York City’s Hotel Pennsylvania.

Read More @ LewRockwell.com

The Biggest Stock Market Crashes Tend to Happen in October

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by Dimitri Speck, Acting Man:

October is the Most Dangerous Month

The prospect of steep market declines worries investors – and the month of October has a particularly bad reputation in this respect.

Bad juju month: Statistically, October is actually not the worst month on average – but it is home to several of history’s most memorable crashes, including the largest ever one-day decline on Wall Street. A few things worth noting about 1987: 1. the crash did not presage a recession. 2. its extraordinary size was the result of a structural change in the market, as new technology, new trading methods and new hedging strategies were deployed. 3. Bernie (whoever he was/is) got six months.

Regarding point 2: in particular, the interplay between program trading and “portfolio insurance” proved deadly (the former describes computerized arbitrage between cash and futures markets, the latter was a hedging strategy very similar to delta-hedging of puts, which involved shorting of S&P futures with the aim of making large equity portfolios impervious to losses – an idea that turned out to be flawed). Too many investors tried to obtain “insurance” by selling index futures at the same time, which pushed S&P futures to a vast discount vs. the spot market. This in turn triggered selling of stocks and concurrent buying of futures by program trading operations – which put more pressure on spot prices and in turn triggered more selling of futures for insurance purposes, and so on. The vicious spiral produced a one-day loss of 22.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} – today this would be equivalent to a DJIA decline of almost 5,000 points. Due to circuit breakers introduced after 1987, very big declines will lead to temporary trading halts nowadays (since 2013 the staggered threshold levels are declines of 7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, 13{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} and 20{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}; after 3:25 pm EST the market is allowed to misbehave as it sees fit). Interestingly, program trading curbs were scrapped again. We mention the case of 1987 because we believe today’s markets will eventually be faced with a “positive feedback loop” problem as well. Many new trading strategies and products that have become popular during the Bernanke/Yellen echo bubble era have yet to be truly stress tested. There are numerous new systematic strategies (almost all of which use leverage in some shape or form), there are now more listed ETFs and ETNs than listed stocks, high frequency trading is responsible for a very large share of trading volume, and open derivatives positions have grown extraordinarily large relative to trading volume in the underlying cash instruments. Market volatility has all but disappeared over the past 18 months or so, but this is reminiscent of a pressure cooker. It seems highly likely that lot of “pent-up volatility” will eventually be unleashed (there is a very good reason to expect this to happen; extended periods of low volatility tend to go hand in hand with the gradual buildup of ever larger speculative positions which depend on its continuation; and this is usually accompanied by a steady increase in leverage with the aim of boosting returns. As an aside, lately we quite often come across articles that explain why the market cannot go down, no matter what (here is a recent example that reminds us a bit of the “keiretsu argument of stock market invulnerability” that was popular in Japan in the late 1980s). [PT]

Although the month of October delivers an acceptable performance in seasonal terms if one disregards outliers like the crashes of 1987 and 2008, these particularly strong declines over such short time periods are nevertheless scary: what use is it to anyone if the market performs well in October several times in a row, but then generates such a large one-off loss that all previous gains evaporate? And what about intermittent losses?

Let as examine these extreme market moves more closely. The following chart shows the 20 largest one-day declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Crashes that occurred in October are highlighted in red.

The 20 Biggest One-Day Declines in the DJIA – extremely strong one-day declines happen particularly often in October

 Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

 

9 of the 20 strongest one-day declines occurred in October. That is an extremely disproportionate frequency. In other words, October has a strong tendency to deliver negative surprises to stock market investors – in the form of sudden crashes.

Outliers Are “Real”

Things look quite differently in the first half of the year. Only two of the 20 largest historical declines have taken place in these six months.

Investors must not allow themselves to be deceived. Such extreme price declines may be rare, but they exhibit seasonal tendencies as well. In most years it is more likely that gains rather than losses are generated, but as noted above, the losses frequently turn out to be exceptionally large.

October Moves Sideways on Average

October, it is actually not a particularly weak month on average. This is illustrated by the seasonal chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average shown below, which encompassing a very long time period. Seasonal charts are different from standard charts; they don’t depict actual prices over a specific, definite time period.

Read More @ Acting-Man.com

New Ghost Gun Update Allows 3D Printing Of Untraceable Handgun

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by Derrick Broze, Activist Post:

The controversial organization Defense Distributed just made it easier to 3D print untraceable handguns.

On October 1, Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed began selling two of the most common handgun “80 percent” receivers. In addition to selling a $1,200 computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) mill which can complete unfinished lower receivers for AR-15 semi-auto rifles, Defense Distributed will now sell unfinished receivers for Glocks and single-stack M1911s.

Using Defense Distributed’s mill, known as the Ghost Gunner, anyone with $1,200 and some basic milling knowledge can create the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle. The term “ghost guns” was first popularized by gun control advocates because the weapons do not have a serial number and are thus untraceable. Wilson and Defense Distributed have since re-claimed the term in a sort of send-up to the U.S. government, which the company is still fighting over the alleged violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

“It’s a certain type of person who builds and enjoys an AR-15—that’s a lot of gun, and most people don’t feel the need to have a big ol’ battle rifle,” Wilson told ArsTechnica. “But we believe lots of people are interested in the conversation about an untraceable, concealable handgun. It’s been on the roadmap the whole time for this project. It’s just always been a question of how we get there, and it ended up being very, very difficult—kinda like the brass ring of the project, if you will.”

“Just like the ARs and stuff, you’re making the identical item that you would otherwise handle, purchase, and fire—so it feels identical,” Wilson notes. “These are real guns.”

Wilson is a former University of Texas School of Law student who gained notoriety in the tech world for his involvement in a series of controversial digital projects, including Dark Wallet, an application to make bitcoin transactions anonymous and untraceable, and his efforts to spread firearms blueprints to the public via downloadable files. In January, Wired named Wilson one of the “most dangerous people on the Internet right now,” putting him in league with Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In May 2013, Defense Distributed released a video of Wilson firing the world’s first fully 3D printable firearm, the 16-piece Liberator .380 single shot pistol. They also released the 3D printable files to the Internet. Within days the State Department demanded that the files be removed from public access, citing a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Defense Distributed complied, though Wilson admitted to Forbes that removing all relevant data from public access “might be an impossible standard.”

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Las Vegas mass shooting: more than one shooter?

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by Jon Rappoport, No More Fake News:

This is my second report on the tragic mass murder in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

I’m looking at a Getty image of two broken windows claimed to be on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the shooter purportedly fired an automatic weapon(s) at concert goers. I count 10 intact windows going around a corner of the building between the two broken ones. These broken windows are from the same hotel room? That’s questionable, and worth checking. If the windows are from two adjacent rooms, it suggests the likelihood of more than one shooter.

Las Vegas police scanner audio on first call-out to the hotel records an officer emphatically saying the shots are coming from half-way up the hotel. The hotel has 43 stories. The 32nd floor is where police claim they found shooter Stephen Paddock’s dead body and his cache of weapons. Perhaps the police officer was estimating when he said “half-way up.” If not, he was seeing shots fired from lower in the hotel. That would suggest the possibility of multiple shooters on different floors.

The latest estimate: 58 dead, 515 injured. It’s expected that more dead and wounded will be reported.

Variety.com states: “…the shooting rampage that police have said lasted about four and a half minutes.”

515 wounded, 58 killed in four and a half minutes.

That would come out to an average of one person killed or injured every 2.1 seconds.

The question arises: how likely is it that one person, particularly Stephen Paddock, was the shooter, since according to his brother, Stephen was “not an avid gun guy at all…He has no military background or anything like that.”

I’ve still not seen a definitive statement about what kind of auto weapon(s) Paddock was supposedly using. One television commentator mentioned it would have been very, very expensive.

Initial reports of more than one shooter were quickly dismissed this morning.

The possibility of more than one (professional) shooter is real—and Paddock is not a candidate whose apparent lack of experience and background makes him an immediate choice…

These are questions, not conclusions, and they should remain open questions—in distinction to mainstream news, which has, as usual, gone along with blinders, taking dictation from law enforcement:

One shooter, dead, case closed.

Read More @ NoMoreFakeNews.com